Game 45: Tampa Bay Lightning versus Carolina Hurricanes

The Lightning follow a familiar and frustrating formula in falling to the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2, extending their losing streak to six games and allowing the Hurricanes to leapfrog them for third place in the Southeast division..

The Carolina Hurricanes beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Sunday night.

Stop me if you've heard this before. A lackluster first period results in a hole that proves too deep to dig out of as a comeback ends up just short. That's been the story line far too often this season and it was the story yet again Sunday night.

"I don't know what the problem is with us in first periods. In my four years here it has always been an Achilles in first periods. we always battle back hard from being down in games, which is the good part, but we would rather be up a few goals in the first instead of behind. I don't know what the problem is but we have to figure it out for the upcoming three games." - Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman

Anders Lindbach got the start in net after having missed the last 13 games with an ankle injury. He was not particularly effective early on. Just sixteen seconds after the puck dropped, Alexander Semin put the Hurricanes on the board thanks to an assist from Eric Staal.

They doubled up at 10:45 on a goal from Jiri Tlusty on assists from Semin and Joe Corvo.0

They ran the lead to three at 18:46 when Tlusty scored again, getting helpers from Stall and Semin. The Hurricanes carried that margin into the first intermission.

The Lightning tallied their first goal of the night at 10:07 of the second with Steven Stamkos scoring on the power play with assists from Sami Salo and Martin St. Louis.

The second period ended with Carolina up 3-1.

At 2:16 of the third, the lead was trimmed to one thanks to a goal from St. Louis scoring on an assist from Vincent Lecavalier.

That was as close as they would get, as in spite of a sense of urgency that was absent in the early going, they were unable to convert on any of the resultant scoring chances.

The Lightning have now lost six in a row and tonight's loss drops them to fourth place in the division, swapping places with the Hurricanes. The Lightning willbe in action again on Wednesday when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Game notes:

  • Stat of the night? With a goal and an assist tonight, Martin St. Louis is currently trailing Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby by only a single point as the league's leader in points scored this season.
  • This was Lindbach's first game under head coach Jon Cooper.
  • The Lightning wore white sweaters during tonight's game, their first time wearing white at home since February 17, 2009, when they lost 5-3 to the Chicago Blackhawks.
  • This was the Lightning's first and only loss to the Hurricanes this season, completing the season series at 4-1.
  • The Lightning honored Patty Parra-Perez as the 37th Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game against Carolina. Parra-Perez, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Family Justice Center, Bay Area Legal Services and the Spring. Patty-Perez was seriously harmed by her estranged husband and then had to watch as he took their children's lives. After her dramatic experience, she has made it her mission to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else. She re-married, had two children and re-gained her strength and is now serving as co-chair for the Family Justice VOICES committee, a group composed of domestic violence survivors. To help raise awareness, she shares her painful story with college students, teens and adults.Her goal is to bring an end to these senseless acts by also speaking out on the issue of domestic violence at various conferences and events. Once a quiet, timid voice, Parra-Perez shares her unimaginable pain when addressing this indefensible crime. In her effort to help children and adults, she has turned her tragedy into a life-saving effort.